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The Bell Curve

Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life
Herrnstein, Richard J. (Book - 1996 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Bell Curve
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Offering a perspective on the social and economic problems of contemporary America, this study examines the relationship between ethnicity and intelligence.
Authors: Herrnstein, Richard J.
Title: The bell curve
intelligence and class structure in American life
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 1996
Edition: 1st Free Press pbk. ed
Characteristics: xxvi, 872 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Richard J. Herrnstein, Charles Murray
Contents: 1. Cognitive Class and Education, 1900-1990
2. Cognitive Partitioning by Occupation
3. The Economic Pressure to Partition
4. Steeper Ladders, Narrower Gates
5. Poverty
6. Schooling
7. Unemployment, Idleness, and Inquiry
8. Family Matters
9. Welfare Dependency
10. Parenting
11. Crime
12. Civility and Citizenship
13. Ethnic Differences in Cognitive Ability
14. Ethnic Inequalities in Relation to IQ
15. The Demography of Intelligence
16. Social Behavior and the Prevalence of Low Cognitive Ability
17. Raising Cognitive Ability
18. The Leveling of American Education
19. Affirmative Action in Higher Education
20. Affirmative Action in the Workplace
21. The Way We Are Headed
22. A Place for Everyone
App. 1 Statistics for People Who Are Sure They Can't Learn Statistics
App. 2 Technical Issues Regarding the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth
App. 3 Technical Issues Regarding the Armed Forces Qualification Test as a Measure of IQ
App. 4 Regression Analyses from Part II
App. 5 Supplemental Material for Chapter 13
App. 6 Regression Analyses from Chapter 14
App. 7 The Evolution of Affirmative Action in the Workplace
Summary: Offering a perspective on the social and economic problems of contemporary America, this study examines the relationship between ethnicity and intelligence.
Additional Contributors: Murray, Charles A.
ISBN: 9780684824291
0684824299
Branch Call Number: 153.93 H568b 1996
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 689-858) and index
Subject Headings: Educational psychology Intelligence levels Social aspects United States Intelligence levels United States Nature and nurture Intellect
Topical Term: Educational psychology
Intelligence levels
Intelligence levels
Nature and nurture
Intellect
LCCN: 95042934
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The Bell Curve was known to be flawed when it was first published in 1994. not only due to dubious science but also dubious logic. The passing of two decades has not been kind to the book, as more evidence mounts to contradict its central claims. When it was first published, Stephen Jay Gould reviewed it in the New Yorker, noting that "The authors omit facts, misuse statistical methods, and seem unwilling to admit the consequence of their own words." http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/course/topics/curveball.html Slate's "The Bell Curve Flattened" is also worth reading: http://www.slate.com/articles/briefing/articles/1997/01/the_bell_curve_flattened.html

May 06, 2014
  • danielestes rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The Bell Curve was first published 20 years ago and the contention that intelligence has a causal relationship with heredity is as controversial as ever. Herrnstein (who passed away before the book was published) and Murray set out to gather and present the data on intelligence and class structure, and ultimately let the facts speak for themselves.

I don't disagree with the authors' conclusions. Our desperate need for equality in all things will no doubt keep this issue a heated one. My main critique of The Bell Curve is structural. The presentation of the material is monotonous, consisting of dry facts and dry charts. Kudos to the authors though for allowing the reader an out. Each chapter begins with a summary and those of us who have little love for elongated statistical explanations are invited to read that and skip the rest.

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